This year, I have read some very interesting, and very “different” books. I read New Earth which is sort of about spirituality and focuses a lot on focusing on the present moment; I read Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World which was a very bizarre story in which death – particularly the imminence of death – featured quite prominently; I read A Tale for the Time Being which dealt with suicide a lot; and, not too long ago, I finished reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations which is a philosophical text that addresses, among many things, the idea of transience.
All these books – which, let it be noted, I did not intentionally choose to read in that order, or consciously plan to read them all this year, but rather that it so happened that I came across them or otherwise felt compelled to pick them up when I did – all these books have got me thinking, subconsciously and consciously, from time to time, about how everything is transient and ephemeral and impermanent and all those beautiful words that mean more or less the same thing.
I know I said I was going to do a series of posts about Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, but I hadn’t planned on writing the next one so soon (not that I really know how long I was going to wait before the next post…)
This one will be short, though (yeah, no, that didn’t happen)
Yesterday I went to my usual book store to buy a copy of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. I’d been reading a copy I borrowed from the library, but, having finished reading it on Saturday night, I felt strongly compelled to buy my own copy because I just knew I needed this book in my own collection.
Sadly, there was nothing but an empty space on the shelf where it might have been, and I left the store empty-handed.
Perhaps it was not meant to be… or perhaps I’ll just go search through other book stores until I find it. Maybe I’ll never re-read it in its entirety, but I feel like there are parts that I’ll most probably like to revisit at some point in my life. If nothing else, I feel like it’ll be comforting to have a copy of my own, easily accessible in my home. Sort of like a salve in a literary first aid kit.
Anyway, as you probably gathered from the above paragraphs, and possibly also from other posts in which I’ve mentioned A Tale for the Time Being, I really, really like this book.
After the deluge on Thursday (the day when everyone was actually told to stay at home from school and work due to extreme weather conditions), we had plenty of sunshine yesterday (Friday). I had the day off from work, so of course I wanted to spend the day enjoying these lovely blue skies. The only problem was that the wind still seemed as blustery as it was at the peak of the storm, so I wasn’t particularly keen on going outside…
But who needs to go outside if you’ve got a bed perfectly located under a window? It wasn’t so much a conscious decision to curl up in bed and read all day, as it was just a natural thing to do (like playing music when I turn on my computer, or switching on the TV when I sit down for brekkie on week-ends). And so, as the wind howled and roared outside, I alternately sat and lied in bed reading Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
I’m currently reading Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, and concurrently reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.
I started reading HW&EW on the plane to Japan. I figured that it would be somewhat appropriate to read a novel by a Japanese author while I was there, and I’d been meaning to read more of Murakami’s works anyway.
A couple of weeks ago (and a couple of weeks since getting back from Japan), I was out in the City to get a haircut. Subsequently having a bit of time to kill before dinner, I decided to retreat to the library. Out of curiosity, and just because that’s what I do, I browsed the “recent returns”. At the time, I was somewhere in the middle of HW&EW, so I wasn’t really looking for something to borrow out and read, but when I picked up ATTB, and read a few pages, I just couldn’t put it down.
For the last month and a half, I’ve been reading Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. I’ve never read anything by any of the Brontë sisters before (someone once told me that they thought Wuthering Heights was quite boring, and that probably (unjustly) put me off all of their novels), and I’ll admit that the only reason Jane Eyre made it on to my to-read list is because it is the favourite novel of the same friend who has recommended and lent me several brilliant novels in the past – novels that I probably would otherwise not have come across or picked up.
I am convinced that this friend of mine has the best taste in books of anyone I know. Well, either that, or she’s just really good at picking books for me.